Case study: The Doe Fund and Ting
Andrew Moore-Crispin • April 10, 2014if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
The Doe Fund is a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York, NY. They also happen to be among the Ting customers with the most active devices on their account.
In their own words: For more than two decades, The Doe Fund has provided a proven, effective and sustainable solution to homelessness and criminal recidivism. Built on the premise that “work works,” its cornerstone program, Ready, Willing & Able offers paid job opportunities in tandem with an individualized service package, including transitional housing, occupational training, comprehensive social support, job readiness and placement assistance, and life-long graduate resources. The Community Improvement Project, its most visible initiative, employs program participants at above minimum wage to clean 150 miles of New York City streets daily. To date, more than 5,500 individuals have graduated from the program to lead independent, productive, law-abiding and drug-free lives.
The Doe Fund’s operations span several offices, and include a 400-person staff (63% of whom are program graduates) and a fleet of nearly 100 vehicles that keep the Community Improvement Project moving.
Ryan Hoenle, Director of Information Technology for The Doe Fund discovered Ting while researching options beyond the major cell phone service providers. Now, vehicles in The Doe Fund’s fleet and individuals in their workforce who constantly need to stay in contact are sporting Ting devices.
We had a chance to catch up with Hoenle, to chat and to ask a few burning questions.
The Doe Fund and Ting
While The Doe Fund used mobile devices previously, the pricing structure on Ting means that now, an increased number of more capable devices can be active in the field at a much lower cost. With the sheer number of phones on The Doe Fund’s Ting account, they’d end up paying thousands of dollars a month before anyone even made a phone call with a typical business mobile plan.
“As a non-profit organization, keeping operating costs low means The Doe Fund can provide comprehensive services to even more Ready, Willing & Able participants, helping them on their paths to self-sufficiency,” Hoenle said.
With traditional mobile phone plans, The Doe Fund wasn’t able to outfit the entire fleet with a dedicated device cost effectively.
“At $25 a line for the guy out there that’s only using (his phone) for PTT (push to talk, which works much like a walkie-talkie over the cell network), that adds up very quickly when you have a number of vehicles and multiple drivers per vehicle.” Hoenle said.
“You get into these cost saving measures where you go ‘he’ll have this phone and this guy’ll have it between this hour and that hour’ and it becomes quite complicated … because devices are not assigned to one person.
“Because of the way Ting is able to just charge us $6 for the lines, we can do some interesting stuff,” Hoenle said. “For example, we have quite a few vehicles and (now we can) have a phone dedicated to each vehicle.”
Using the Push To Talk (PTT) app Zello on its smartphones, the Doe Fund is able to get past the fact that PTT isn’t supported natively on Ting.
“Ting, in concert with Zello, allows us to go from that mixed, not everyone can contact everybody else, $25 a line per month PTT scenario to a scenario where everyone has a smartphone and everyone who needs it can have PTT, all at a very good price point.”
Ting’s bring your own device policy also allowed Hoenle and his team to activate devices the organization already owned, and supplement them with phones purchased used or new in bulk, and therefore relatively inexpensively.
“The thing that I had not anticipated at all was the positive reception that we’re receiving from our new Ting users and from our drivers,” Hoenle said. “Many of the people who are our drivers and who work in our facilities came through our program. They may not have used a smartphone before and previously only had a feature phone, if they had a phone at all. Now, we’re giving them all these smartphones. We are trusting them with something and they are getting additional responsibility.”
“I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective,” he said. “I’m more concerned with capability and what our budget looks like but they’re really responding very positively to these phones.”
Ting’s unique approach means an unlimited number of devices on one account sharing pooled usage and only paying for the individual minutes, messages and megabytes of data you actually use beyond the XL levels. As there are no contracts, no bundled plans and no hidden gotchas, Ting is arguably the most flexible and universal cell phone service around.
We’re proud to provide non-profits like The Doe Fund and businesses small and large our brand of unencumbered mobile service.